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There Has Never Been A More Urgent Need For Pastors To Proclaim Israel’s Right To The Land


There’s never been a more urgent need for pastors to proclaim Israel’s right to the Land. The war in the Middle East has exposed the cancer of anti-Semitism and we must not keep silent.


The massive influx of people from Muslim nations explains the anti-Semitic demonstrations in major cities across Europe and the U.S., but why the intense hatred? Satan is the culprit behind the anger directed at Israel and by proxy at the Jews living in other nations.


Replacement Theology also contributes to what’s happening as proponents of this doctrine assert that after the people of ancient Israel rejected their Messiah, God turned His back on them and as a result, replaced the nation with the church. They claim that the church is now God’s kingdom on earth having inherited such promises that He made to Israel, albeit in a spiritual sense.


How does this teaching lead to anti-Semitism? During the long history of the church, Replacement Theology has been a breeding ground for it. Today, we see that churches in denominations long immersed in this teaching support the Palestinians cause in spite of its desire to destroy the nation of Israel and celebration of terrorism. The silence of many other churches concerning Israel’s right to the Land leaves a vacuum that the devil fills with murderous hatred.


The Origin Of Replacement Theology

Before the time of Augustine in the early fifth century, the majority of church leaders believed in the literal fulfillment of the entire book of Revelation. Even though writers such as Justin Martyr believed that God was finished with the Jewish people, He asserted that Jesus would reign for a thousand years in Jerusalem and denounced others who did not agree with him on this matter.


Because of his skill as a theologian and writer, Augustine changed everything. Motivated by anti-Semitism and his fondness for the teachings of Plato who taught that all matter was evil, he altered the literal meaning of prophecies concerning Israel so that they conformed to his amillennialism, the belief there is no literal fulfillment of Revelation 20:1-10 nor the restoration of a kingdom to Israel.


His teaching that the church was God’s kingdom on earth appealed to a great many on his day because earlier, under the Emperor Constantine, Christianity had become the official religion of Rome. The church now possessed political power, which made its leaders all the more susceptible to the idea that they now ruled the kingdom once promised to God’s people. The temptation, fueled by Replacement Theology, proved irresistible.


The Reformers in the centuries leading up to the Reformation, Augustine’s spiritualizing of the texts of Bible prophecy became the basis for diluting other passages in God’s Word. Soon, the purity of the Gospel and in particular, the doctrine of justification by faith fell victim to symbolical interpretations rather than those based on the meaning of words.


As a result, the Roman Catholic Church made works the basis of one’s salvation and kept its people closely tied to it through sacraments. It’s bishops and priests dominated the people ruling as kings over them rather than as shepherds caring for the needs of God’s people.


The Reformers rejected Augustine’s allegorical approach to Scripture that had led to doctrinal error concerning the Gospel. Their principles of sola scriptura and “Scripture interprets Scripture” brought the church back to what the New Testament taught regarding justification and the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).


Unfortunately, the anti-Semitism of Luther and Calvin kept them from applying their principles of Bible interpretation to future things, especially passages related to the restoration of a kingdom for Israel. They condemned the spiritualization of biblical texts, but just couldn’t get to the place of accepting what the words of Scripture revealed about Jesus’ future thousand-year reign.


After The Reformation the generation following the Reformation, however, began to apply the Reformers’ principles of interpretation to prophecies relating to the Millennium and the restoration of Israel. Dr. William Watson documents this change in an article called “The Rise of Philo-Semitism and Premillennialism During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.”


Dr. Watson lists forty-five writers and Bible scholars who, from 1585 to 1800, expressed beliefs related to Jesus’ future thousand-year reign over the nations of the earth. He provided quotes from the majority of these biblical scholars who paved the way for the revival of Premillennialism (the belief in a literal thousand-year reign of Jesus based in Jerusalem).


As a result, many began teaching that God would restore a kingdom to Israel. The most well-known of these biblical scholars was Isaac Newton. In 1706, based upon his study of Daniel and Revelation, Newton stated Israel would once again become a nation.


How Did Premillennialism Change The Church’s View Of The Jewish People?

In his book, Dispensationalism Before Darby, Dr. William Watson has a most remarkable quote:


It was not until the Reformation and the publication of the Geneva Bible (1557) and subsequently, the King James Bible (1611) in England that Christians began to read those Jewish Scriptures for themselves. In doing so, they began to believe once again the promises God had made to the Jews.


Dr. William Watson, who has done an incredible amount of research digging through the writings of Bible scholars in the centuries before and following the Reformation, lists twenty-one authors on page 45 of his book who from 1584 to 1675 either stated that God’s covenant with the Jews was eternal, encouraged fellow Christians to love the Jews, or believed that Jerusalem would be prominent in the future because of a restored Israel.


The resurgence of Bible teachers adopting Premillennialism, coupled with believers reading the Word of God for themselves, not only changed beliefs regarding the restoration of Israel, but also replaced the church’s longstanding anti-Semitism with one of love for the Jewish people.


By the early twentieth century, Premillennialism had become the predominant belief in Bible-believing churches across the world and remained so for much of the century. In the early 1900’s, Bible scholars such a C. I. Scofield and Lewis S. Chafer predicted that Israel would become a nation again, just as Isaac Newton had done 200 years earlier, and in 1948, it happened. Israel became a nation in one day, just as the prophet Isaiah said would happen (66:8)


Of course, those in mainline denominations ridiculed their predictions and still held firmly to Replacement Theology even after they witnessed God’s amazing fulfillment of prophecy.


The Resurgence Of Replacement Theology

Since the start of the twenty-first century, Replacement Theology has made a comeback even in churches that once espoused Premillennialism. Although this is not the total explanation for what we see on U.S. college campuses, it contributes to the acceptance of the hatred that’s jeopardizing the safety of Jewish students.


I see two trends contributing to this.


First, many believers don’t read and study the Bible for themselves. They depend solely on what they hear from their pastors on Sunday mornings. Many blindly accept Replacement Theology because they haven’t studied Scripture for themselves. As a result, they accept today’s poplar lie that Israel has no inherent right to the Land.


Second, there has been an influx of amillennial teachers into seminaries that train our pastors. When I attended Talbot Theological Seminary during the 1970’s, my professors held firmly to beliefs in Jesus’ thousand-year reign and the pre-Tribulation Rapture. Since then, it has welcomed instructors who claim to be premillennial, but don’t believe in a literal Tribulation, Millennium, or the restoration of Israel. I know this to be true.


The resurgence of Replacement Theology has come about from believers not studying or reading the Bible for themselves along with pastors that either teach Replacement Theology or remain silent regarding the end times. In some cases this results in anti-Semitism, but it mostly results in indifference that sees the war in Israel as just another conflict with no bearing on their lives, which could not be further from the truth.


To Sum Up

Replacement Theology flourished from the time of Augustine until many decades after the Reformation because of anti-Semitism and the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to keep Christians from reading the Bible in their own language.


Andy Stanley, one of today’s most popular preachers, encourages the church to “unhitch” itself from the Old Testament. Such advice not only opens the door to Wokeism, but promotes Reformation Theology as many believers no longer read the Hebrew Scriptures where God makes solemn promises to Israel and expresses His love for Jerusalem in the Psalms.


Because Replacement Theology, along with its unbiblical offshoots, preterism and dominion theology, have become dominant in the church, there’s much sympathy and even blind support for the Palestinian cause even in churches and seminaries that claim to be Bible-believing. These things ought not to be!


The war in the Middle East necessitates that:

pastors must boldly proclaim Israel’s right to the Land, which the Bible clearly says is true. To remain silent at such a time as this is to repeat the errors of churches in Germany during the last century believers pray for Israel during this time of suffering and war and if so led, financially support the people.

Maranatha!


By JB



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